Portraits in natural light. Tips?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by KSimental, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. KSimental

    KSimental TPF Noob!

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    Hi all. I've recently started shooting headshots in natural light: partial shade or all shade. They generally come out OK, but recently, I shot a client with whiter than white skin he came out looking like Caspar the Friendly Ghost. I also noticed that in general, my images look a little flat. Can anyone recommend some tips or camera settings that I might use to enhance?

    I'm using a Canon Digital Rebel XT and have a Vivitar 530FD flash unit with diffuser, as well as a gold, silver, and white reflectors. I'm sort of a bare bones operation and don't have access to a studio on weekends when I do most of my freelance work.

    Thanks in advance for your help!


     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    If the skin is too cold, then use the gold reflector to bounce a little warmth in there. As far as looking flat, that's just a matter of your processing. You can add more contrast in post process. Are you shooting raw?
     
  3. KSimental

    KSimental TPF Noob!

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    I thought gold might work. I'll have to try it out. I probably should be shooting in RAW, but I've been shooting in the L setting - which someone told me was just as good or if not, at least comparable. JPG also saves space, which is also a concern. I'm doing TFCD right now, so JPG seems the most efficient.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good thought, Matt. Maybe positioning of the subject comes into play too. A good starting point is a broad light source that is higher than the camera and off to one side. Since you cannot move you light source, try moving around you subject until you see the best lighting.

    Another thought.... if you're working in open shade, with light coming from everywhere, try "subtracting" some of the light, leaving just what you want. You can do this using a large, black panel (go-bo, or go-between).

    I hope this helps.

    And welcome to TPF!

    Pete
     
  5. KSimental

    KSimental TPF Noob!

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    Great advice guys. I'm shooting today, so I'll definitely experiment. Thanks!!
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Good point also about the gobo Pete. As for raw vs jpg KS, there are lots of threads on this forum about that. You can search for them, and also read up on them here:

    http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

    It's a personal preference, but there's no doubt you'll have more control over your final output by shooting raw.
     

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